Luxury brands occupy a special place in our minds that keep us craving them and wanting to buy them as a statement of our unique taste and sense of style. But what would make you put your name on a six-year waiting list for a handbag? Or pay five times as much for a product for its brand name?
Businesses that aspire to create a luxury brand have to distinguish themselves cleverly and distinctively to retain their allure and mystique in the mind of the consumer. We explore what luxury brands need to focus on in order to create and market a true luxury experience.
Craft An Exquisite Product
Exquisite materials and high standards of hand-design that are hard to reproduce by machine are the crux of inimitable luxury. This superior level of artistry, craftsmanship and durability appeals to the luxury connoisseur.
Any aspiring luxury brand or business that wants to migrate into the luxury category needs to revisit the fundamental crux of their business – the product – and evaluate how they can create something of exquisite craftsmanship and unmatched visual appeal.
A luxury brand retains its allure by virtue of the fact that only a select few can buy it. This is why so many couture brands ration their products’ supply, limit accessibility and adopt a pricing strategy that ensures the product is only within the purchasing means of a privileged elite.
By losing control of this crucial factor, a luxury brand will perish. Pierre Cardin, a once highly respected couture brand flooded the market with more than 800 licenses around the world, thus devaluing themselves and falling into the realm of a mass market premium brand.
In recent years we have seen luxury brands tapping into new audiences by collaborating with department stores, producing limited editions that customers compete to purchase. This commercial strategy combines scarcity with a mass market approach that drives desire but safeguards the brand from overexposure.
To build brand loyalty, a luxury brand need to advocate beliefs that will give it a powerful feeling of uniqueness, timelessness and authenticity and cause customers to rally round the brand as well as the products they sell.
Beliefs permeate deeper into a consumer’s consciousness than brand values; they’re more compelling and consequently create greater loyalty. Unlike premium brands, luxury brands should not strive to please everyone, but will pull in those customers whose beliefs align with their own.
When it comes to evolving their product range, a luxury brand must not conform to customer sentiment but adhere to their beliefs and surprise the customer, innovating with something he or she was not expecting!
Create Dreams, Don’t Solve Problems
The nature of a luxury brand is to create dreams, not to solve problems and this needs to be reflected psychologically at every level of the product and marketing mix.
A luxury brand appeals to the emotions (self gratification, aspiration, pleasure, recognition), not the intellect (risk reduction, absence of problem and reducing discomfort). Appealing to a consumers emotions will create the thrill, excitement and delight that are typically associated with luxury purchases.
A Compelling Brand Identity
A luxury brand’s visual identity must capture its unique beliefs, personality and attitude. The brand identity needs to create a personal connection with their audience, reflecting their dreams, desires and need for recognition.
When it comes to designing and finding visual expression for a luxury brand, a complete visual toolset rather than one single logo are needed. These can include brand symbols, logos, signature colours, patterns and distinctive photography concepts.
Luxury brands should strategically create their brand identity and amplify it through constant repetition. This needs to be reflected through every aspect of the marketing mix – from the store’s interiors to each advertising campaign and their online boutique. Repetition and consistency fuel brand recognition and a sense of mysticism and allure.
Involve the customer in an experience
Luxury brands pull customers towards the brand with the promise of belonging to an exclusive community. Many consumers may want access to this circle, but only a select few who truly share the brand beliefs can really belong.
If a customer wants to buy a premium high street product, all they have to do is pay the price. But Hermes customers must form a long-term bond with the brand if they want to be offered the opportunity to buy one of the manufacturer’s “signature” bags.
Creating a luxury brand is a nuanced art that requires a branding and marketing consultancy with an in depth understanding of the purchasing mindset of this category. Conforming to conventional brand wisdom will sabotage a luxury brand’s positioning. It’s the above mentioned features that give luxury brands the allure and mysticism they need to command respect, attention – and the ability to charge premium prices.